As you know from my previous post, Liam Witt, the amazing little four-year-old boy I'm dedicating my marathon to this year, had to go into the hospital on Friday for exploratory surgery. Though his blood tests were cancer-free, there was a spot on his kidney, the site of his original tumor, that needed to be tested. Well, they tested it, and while it is 95% "junk," the doctors discovered a few rogue cancer cells that need to be, in their words, "mopped up." So Liam is probably facing two more rounds of high-dose chemo, which will cause him to lose his appetite, lose his hair, and lose his energy. But one thing about Liam, says Gretchen, he will not complain.
And what makes Gretchen equally amazing is her drive, spirit and attitude. This is from today's blog entry:
As anyone who knows neuroblastoma understands, this certainly is not characteristic of the disease to do nothing. If I take a glass half empty view, this would be unbearable. If I take a glass half full view, we are incredibly lucky to have caught whatever this thing is in such an early stage that it doesn’t even register on any test. This is a manageable bump. This we can deal with. This we can handle. This, though, also serves as yet another reminder of how much we need to take e-v-e-r-y day as an incredibly special gift. Time is the most precious commodity and it needs to be celebrated and savored. And not knowing what the future holds, something none of us knows but that has a special poignancy with us, we’ve decided we need to step up our commitment to raise money for pediatric cancer research and cherish even more every day we have with Liam and Ella. This news didn’t defeat us, it rededicated us.
What an amazing woman Gretchen is. She co-founded Band of Parents, and you can click on that link, or the one to the right of the page, and read about what they do. She's the one who had the idea to have BOP bake and sell 96,000 cookies for Christmas and give the proceeds to MSKCC. And they did.
And as she has re-dedicated herself to raising funds to help MSKCC eradicate pediatric cancer, so too am I re-dedicating myself. Not just in raising money, which is hard enough, but in rededicating my desire to run the best marathon I can, because Liam deserves no less.
So, if you are a dear reader and want to honor Liam and his fight by contributing to my marathon effort, please click here, or on the link to the right or bottom of the page. It means so much more to Liam -- and all the people at MSKCC -- than a dollar sign.
Whether or not you can donate, please send friends and family the link to this blog. The more people contribute, the closer we get to not just imagining a world without cancer, but living in it.
Speaking of which, here are the latest members of the FRED'S TEAM HONOR ROLL:
Bringing my total to an impressive
I have a couple of unprocessed checks still to add, which will bring me a little closer to the $6,000 I'd like to raise this year. Those wonderful people will be added to the next scroll of the Roll.
We've had our first few Team workouts, but the week before I organized the first Felafel Run. There are a few people on the Team -- okay, Rich and Harrie -- who have differing views on what felafel place is the best place in the city. So last year we said, let's do some runs that end at a felafel place, and then we'll vote. But we never did it. This year I, as unofficial social director, revived the notion of the Felafel Run, and the first place we were to visit was Sido, on the Upper West Side. Now, there are two Sidos on the UWS, mere blocks apart. I didn't know which one to go to, but I charted the course -- starting at the 79th Street entrance, a clockwise loop, and then out and to one of the Sidos. Alas, neither Rich nor Harrie showed (losers!) but David, Sara and I give Sido a big thumbs up -- very good and also very inexpensive. Mamouns in the Village is next.
I missed the first Team long run because I was in DC visiting Laura, who will always be known as my roomie, even though she is no longer in the apartment and will most likely never return for more than a week or two every other year. She will be heading to the Ivory Coast -- excuse me, the Cote D'Ivoire -- next month as part of her new career in the US Foreign Service. Right now she's in DC learning French. So I went down for a weekend visit and we did the monument and memorial tour. I took no pictures, you can see pictures of these monuments, oh, everywhere, but wow are they impressive in person. The size, the scope, the symbolism. The Korean War Memorial is particularly moving; it's a series of soldiers on the march. And the Vietnam Memorial is beyond words. Laura was a good tour guide; she had info on a lot of the stuff we saw, plus her own memories of visiting them as a child (she grew up in VA.) I really miss Laura, but I'll get to visit her, and that's a more interesting vacation destination than, say, Boca.
The first Team hill workout was a little crazy -- Cat Hill was wicked crowded, between us, the other teams, last-minute NYC Triathlon training and the Philarmonic concert. I took pictures, but I haven't loaded them up yet. I call Cat Hill the "Zipper Factory" because at its worst it reminds me of the Zipper amusement park ride, which rotates up and down in a tight oval. It's also the only ride I ever tossed my cookies on, but that's another story. And it's a factory because it's so crowded you have to jump into any opening you can find and join the throngs running up and down. We did six easy repeats. I did two at a time to make it a little harder, which worked. Normally I can do three at a time, but it was really hot. Saw a spectacular bike vs. pedestrian crash, and I mean spectacular not in the good sense of the word. It was an older woman, they both went flying, she and the bicyclist. Both were at fault -- he was going too fast, she stepped out in the street without looking to her left. Thankfully neither were too hurt; the cyclist got scraped up and the woman lost a stone from her ring. The cyclist was super-apologetic, and we felt bad for him, since he was doing the Tri that weekend and scrapes and bruises wasn't going to make it any easier. Between the economy and gas prices and everything else, there are a LOT more people staying in town this summer, making an already crowded Park even that much more crowded. Coach Jeff observed that the Parks Department should post signs or extra personnel on the days when the Philarmonic is playing in the Park; it might help avert some of those accidents.
On Thursday I missed the first step workout because my school decided to test at my speed (for those of you new to this blog, I'm studying to be a court reporter. I'm in the final speed class and I need to pass six more speed tests before I can graduate. Testing is a good thing!) and I wanted to take advantage of it. But I wanted to get that workout in, so I went to the steps (the ones by the Bethesda fountain) at 6:00am Friday to get it in. Now, I don't know if I was harder on myself than Jeff would have been -- hard to believe, I guess -- but I kicked my own ass. I forgot how hard this workout is. It's probably the same kind of memory loss they say women get after the pain of childbirth, they forget how hard it was, so that they'll have more children. Same thing. My hips were so sore the rest of the day I looked like I had just stepped off a horse.
And then Saturday, not 24 hours later, two loops of the Park. My hips were still achy and it was super-humid by 8:00am (we started at 7:00) so this run was not much fun. I had to stop at every water fountain. I don't know how some of my 'Mates can skip a fountain or two. I'm old and can't deal with the heat as well as they can, I guess. Still, I was at about 1:47:00 for the run, not counting the water stops, so I'm happy with that. Unfortunately, no rest for the wicked after that, I went to see the final studio rehearsal for Cape Playhouse's "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels," helped them load out of the hall and into the car, then went to meet my parents for dinner.
Sunday was the NYC Triathlon. We had a lot of Teammates doing it, so Ashley and I went to 72nd Street and West End at 8:30am to cheer them on for the start of the running portion. It was a lot of fun, and I confess I got a little jealous. I think I'd like to try a triathlon one day. I can't swim, and I don't own a bicycle, but other than those two minor issues, I'm game. I really should suck it up and learn to swim properly and ride a road bike and just do one. I'd like it to be the NY one, just to say I swam in the Hudson. Most of them got bit by jellyfish this year, which was unexpected. And the men started so late, it was nearly 10:30 by the time we saw David come through, and we didn't even see Joe or Yan. Joe's wave started so late, and the current was so strong at that point that the police boats pulled them out of the water after 45 minutes and took them back to shore, no DQ, because they weren't moving. After seeing David, Ash ran up 72nd with him (she was in flip-flops!) I tried to keep up, but I had a coffee cup and a bag and I wasn't as fast. It's so sad that I'm slower than David after he's swam and biked, but whaddya do?
I shoulda done something yesterday but I was still too achy, plus which I had my first day of rehearsal for "Leader of the Pack" for the Cape Playhouse and school later that night. Bad excuse. I'm mad at myself for not doing something, but after a full day of rehearsal and school I didn't want to hit the gym at 9:00pm. So I'm trying to forgive myself and remember this Sunday is the Nike NYC Half, and I want to make sure I'm good for that because I'd like to race it.
Tonight's the first Team speed workout, and I'll keep y'all posted.
Contests coming soon!!
If you are the praying kind, please keep Liam and his family in your thoughts.